On 29 January, Morocco’s Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Mr Aziz Rabbah, together with ONCF CEO Mr Mohamed Rabie Khlie, presided over the inauguration ceremony of a rail bridge built to replace level crossing 1052 in Kenitra. The structure, which took 13 months to build, required an investment of 13 million Moroccan dirhams (over one million euros), financed through a partnership between ONCF and the Gharb-Chrarda-Beni Hssen Region (whose principal city is Kenitra).
The national programme to remove level crossings by replacing them with new constructions aims to increase the safety of local residents and traffic and improve the flow of urban and suburban journeys.
The aim of this programme is to reduce the number of level crossings by 50% across the national network and by 100% along the Settat, Fez and Ennouceur and El Jorf lines. The financing has been arranged through a partnership between the wilayahs, provincial councils and districts involved. Since 2005, almost 46% of the overall programme has been achieved, corresponding to the removal of 118 level crossings – that is an average of 16 level crossings a year – and their replacement with around 100 engineering structures: pedestrian footbridges, rail bridges and road bridges. The new lines that have recently started operations such as the Tangier-Tangier Med port link and the Nador line do not have any level crossings.
The results are self-evident: the number of accidents caused by level crossings is constantly falling (25 in 2005 compared to 10 in 2011) while the number of trains has practically doubled and the railway network has been extended with over 200 km of new lines.